Kenyan driver Carl Tundo has proved to be a real contender in the race for the African Rally Championship title after he finished third in the Kenya Safari Rally over the weekend in Nairobi.
The Safari rally is the third round on the 2017 ARC calendar. Tundo, who survived a roll in the last stage of the race, came third in his Lancer Evo10.
Tapio Laukannen became the first Finnish to win the 65th edition of the Kenya Safari Rally. He showed earlier intent for victory posting the fastest time on day one.
Another Kenyan Jassi Chatthe, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, who won the ARC title in 2015, finished sixth over the weekend, to go second with eight points, ten points behind Tundo.
The rest of the registered ARC drivers have not scored any points after three rounds. Ian Duncan and Ammar Slatch settled for second overall, 22 seconds behind the leader.
A total of 44 drivers started the Safari Rally that returns to ARC calendar after a hiatus two years. Safari Rally is one of the most competitive races on the African calendar.
Defending champion Don Smith from Kenya pulled out of the race at the 11th hour in protest claiming unfairness in the starting order. The final start list order released on Thursday had placed the 2016 champion as car number 33 yet the provisional start order had placed him at car number 2.
It means the rally revved off on Friday morning without the African defending champion. Yet, article 45.3 of the rules and regulations, gives the ARC contenders priority on a start order of a continental race.
Valery Bukera of Burundi and last year’s Mountain Gorilla victor was the best-placed foreign driver in 11th place out of the 30 finishers, while South Africa’s Geoff Bell was the best-placed two-wheel-driver in 14th place, driving a Datsun 260Z.
The fifth round of the ARC goes to South Africa for the Sasol Rally next month.
ARC Driver Standing
1. Carl Tundo (Ken): 18 points
2. Jassi Chatthe (Ken): 8 points
Safari Rally results
1. Tapio Laukkanen: 01:54:12
2. Ian Duncan: 01:54:34
3. Carl Tundo: 01:56:18
4. Onkar Rai: 01:57:01
5. Karan Patel: 02:01:13
Former KNRC Group S and 2WD Champion Jasmeet Chana has landed a major boost from Sovereign Hotel Kisumu ahead of the season-opening KCB Kisumu Rally 2015 slated for Chemelil and Chemase cane-field regions on February 21.